Clinical value of serum TAG-72 as a tumor marker for pancreatic carcinoma. Comparison with CA 19-9.Int J Pancreatol. 1994 Jun; 15(3):171-7.IJ
We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of the carbohydrate antigen TAG-72 as a tumor marker for pancreatic cancer compared with the serum values of CA 19-9. Forty healthy controls, 58 patients with pancreatic carcinoma, and 45 patients with chronic pancreatitis were studied. In patients with pancreatic cancer, 47/58 (81%) and 26/58 (45%) had raised serum levels of CA 19-9 and TAG-72, respectively; the sensitivity of the tests was not influenced by jaundice. In the chronic pancreatitis patients, both CA 19-9 and TAG-72 were elevated in 2/45 patients (4.4%). Both tests showed a specificity of 95%. Consequently, the sensitivity of TAG-72 was too low compared with CA 19-9. Moreover, serum TAG-72 could not detect small pancreatic cancers. High levels of both tumor markers were found in advanced stages of cancer. No advantage was found using both CA 19-9 and TAG-72 for improving the detection of pancreatic cancer. TAG-72 serum levels > 10 U/mL are closely related to unresectability of the tumor. Only 4/17 (23%) of patients with resectable tumor had high TAG-72 levels. Serum TAG-72 expression seems to be more frequent in poorly-differentiated tumors than in well-differentiated cancers (56 vs 30% positivity rate).